tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 12, 2013 6:00am-7:01am EST
it is amazing, given the high level discord between our two governments. they do not have six packs. the average person actually likes the united states. they like american culture. they like basketball. all sorts of stuff. having said that, again, you will not love it. i will tell you how iranians think. i just subscribed to these use. i will tell you how we look. first of all, it looks like we support dictatorship across the middle east. we supported iraq's attack on iran.
it was a dramatic event. our hands on this are not completely clean either. there's a brief period of time where we were trekking off and selling weapons to the iraqis. it was a horrible regime up there and evil, if i may use that word. the assad regime in syria. third, the united states favors israel. what iranians believe is that the u.s. favors the jewish faith over muslim states. states that are populated primarily by muslims. you may not agree. it may not be too. this is the perception. this is what they believe. after the revolution, they took an embassy and they gave it to
the -- plo. they celebrate jerusalem day in tehran. iranians believe that we as a country favor the jewish state over the muslim state. therefore, muslim states, we are anti-islamic. there are arguments against that. the u.s. has a lot of chaplains in the military. >> ok. >> ok. this is what iranians believe he read that we do not like muslims. a guy was murdered because someone thought he was a muslim. we have reasons -- iran is indeed strangled.
an emotional type of strangling rather than one that resulted in geopolitics. if the u.s. is trying to expel it, isolate iran, we are. there is a reason for it. iranians believe that iran is a great nation, an ancient nation with global interest. they deeply resent what they think we are trying to do. this is all they knew. there are things about them that they don't like and so forth.
it is certainly not going to change. they have their narrative. what is ours? they took over our embassy. we have all seen "argo." great movie. i loved it. i've seen it twice. despite how inaccurate was, i still liked it. second of all, the iranian support terrorist and extremist groups. they absolutely do. there was an attack on the jewish community center of what aires.uenos
they deny the holocaust. i was invited to believe it or -- i was invited to a meeting in tehran that the holocaust did not happen. there was a holocaust denier. i cannot make it. i had a conflict. there are people that do deny the holocaust. they threaten to destroy israel. it is american policy. it was astounding. we are the great savers.
satan.great they are the axis of evil. there are competing narratives. both work in mobilizing negative energy. what is going to happen? what do we know? this is the one i think is the most important. i have spent my life, i'm reading things about iran and written by my learned colleagues. there's a certainty with which they tell us about iran and one another. it is belied by reality. nobody really understands what is going on in iran. it is impossible.
the political system in iran is intentionally designed so that it is opaque, it is obscure. iranians don't know what is going on. very smart iranians -- it is the nature of the system. they want to avoid what happened to the shah. they want a political system in which it is difficult to overrule the current political order. part of it is the uncertainty that comes in the wake of a revolution. no one wants to make a decision or be at risk. no one wants to take a chance. it is not clear how it works. there's this murkiness. you know, i feel like helen keller. there's so much that is not evident to us. it is not clear. we lack information.
north korea is sort of the gold stander of ignorance, but iran is not far behind in terms of the iranian system. i read endlessly and i get frustrated. i did not know about that. political actors. the one that year go all the time is the supreme leader. the supreme leader is many things, one of which is that he is not supreme. he is sort of the political act for, but is a political actor. he is not some autocrat who snaps his finger and things happen. his problem will continue to get worse if he is not there is this unique role that occupied. it is not transferable to
someone else. the supreme leader presides over the islamic republic. not only the spiritual leader, but also the political leader. they need to engage and he really needs to get political interest in iran to support him and work with them. certainly he is very influential. he is not the only game in town. it is a challenge. second of all, the religious sector. it is extremely diverse. not that they all agree. there is great diversity and differences of view within the religious that -- sector. some are generally conservative extremely conservative and orthodox and some are actually very enlightened and they get it. they get it. they're working within a
difficult system. the third is that revolutionary guard. the revolutionary guard is not only a military organization, but also an economic entity that is sort of comparable to the people's liberation army in china. the interest are extraordinary. they are very wealthy. they have built an airport in tehran, for example. there is a battle of another group that wanted to build the airport and they lost. they did not have as many guns. they are again another political entity, which is very influential. none of them are dominant. all of them are important. you cannot discount any of them. the part about the iranian politics that is so fascinating
which none of us have access to is that these people has been a lot of time with one another and aging tea and a read poetry. they do politics, if you will. it is a constant series of negotiations. horse trading and politicking. it is how iranian politics always works. it worked this way under the shah. there were groups of people who would go to school together in a similar industry. i'm sure in congress you had -- that group, the people you work with. in the good old days, they could even be with opposite party. you would do a deal. it is very interesting. they used to do business all the time. iran operates that way.
the idea that there is this one source and they are behind everything. that is simply wrong. forgive me, but there is a lot to cover. i want to have time for questions. this era was special because they were basically able to do pretty much want -- what they wanted to do. if we were sitting in either know, tehran, before the revolution and some secret confab, most of these people in the room would have supported him. it is not because we like them, but because we do not like the shah. people like me who are snooty professors -- this old guy, he has got people. we'll use him to get rid of the shah.
now sitting in beverly hills drinking tea and wonder what went wrong. -- now sitting in beverly hills, drinking tea, and wondering what went wrong. era was one of the most difficult times. there was the invasion of iraq -- of iran by iraq. there are fountains shooting up red water to symbolize the blood that was shed. this was sort of a 9/11 equivalent to the iranians. it deeply affected the people of iran. it still does today. ultimately, do remember there was a liberal guy week that we could do business with? it was the rouhani of his age, if you will.
all my colleagues were swinging from the chandeliers. a wonderful opportunity. the deal never got made. why? he could not deliver iran. part of it was that the time was not right. it is sort of synonymous. the fact that it was not successful does not mean there was no room for reform here it is simply means that it was unsuccessful. then there was the ahmadinejad run. he had a vision of the bad guy. he never failed to deliver. i used to call him israel's secret weapon. the israelis must have loved him. so off the charts, that all he had to do was sit there and watch. it was very easy to deal with
iran. sanction it. he was attentive to these issues. he was very much concerned with the voters, his domestic constituency in iran. it wasn't only u.s. sanction that is destroyed the economy, a lot of it what was he himself was doing ridiculously liberal concessions and subsidies and other sorts of things. and he in a sense may have been a necessary evil because he may have teed up iran for the row has been any era in which we are presented for an opportunity for negotiation had is made further urgent by the development of the iranian nuclear program which ub sets everybody as well it should.
the idea of a went niesed iran, iran having nuclear went answer peels to nobody. it really is not something that will benefit the world. frankly i don't think it will benefit iran. the challenge with iran, iran is not a country which you can bully. it simply doesn't work that way. if you look at what iran excels at at the olympics, it's wrestling and weight lifting. this is a country that is very national list i can, has a very strong sense of self-. when i go there which i'm sure you all will at some point, your host will take you to a house of strength.
it's when people do syncronized weight lifting. it is very interesting. the point i'm making is culturally this is not a country that gives in well to bullying. they have a very strong sense of themselves, they are very national list i can, there is sort of a martial quality there and it simply doesn't work. what was so interesting about the election is that yet again an opportunity for some type of peaceful resolution of our differences with iran emerges. and again, i am skeptical because i'm always skeptical. we middle east specialists are the oncologist of studies. we are wrong and can't do anything and have no good news. but having said that the stakes
are so high, they are so noornt i think that i -- important that i think i supported president obama's attempt to meet his initiative in the spirit in which we would like to believe it's been given. there are no guarantees. there are no guarantees. but having said that the planet earth is less of a place with iran in a box that we really do need to try and find a way without giving away the farm the way we did in syria i might add to try and find a accommodation with iran. maybe it won't work. maybe it won't work. the ironny about this and the unusual characteristic is that the rouhani initiative to the u.s. and president obama's response has driven i ran and saudda arabia into the same corner. that is quite an achievement. israel and saudda -- saudi arabia are both very uncomfortable.
what some israelis believe and probably more saudis believe is that they are doing this to buy time, they are not sincere, they don't mean it. he will not be able to deliver and they believe that iran will do what i believe assad is doing with the chemical weapons program. and in a sense, if you accept that accusation about syria, it certainly deserves to be considered about iran. it is my personal view the risk certainly worth taking. and indeed if we are right, the big beneficiaries are likely to be israel and saud day rabe i can't who will not be under the
sword of some sort of nuclear program. what if i'm wrong? that's question if you're sitting in tell aviver -- tel aviv, when we get nuked he won't let us stay in his guest room. i understand that. i really do. but i also do believe in our form of government. i have some measure of trust in our elected officials, maybe more than angela merkel does or others and this is a serious issue that the united states government has been deeply involved in from day one. i think if iran is serious or unserious it will be revealed relatively quickly. the first set of negotiations in geneva apashtly went very well. wendy sherman who was leading our negotiating team didn't
provide any details. the iranians showed up with a detailed power point presentation. they showed up with some serious suggestions and everybody walk add way from the meeting feeling this was time well spent n. both countries, and this again is what is so interesting, there are going to be anyway sayers in both countries. there are people in congress who will say see the sanctions are working. it squeezed iran into compliance. let's ratch chet up the sanctions, they are on the run let's elevate them more. wendy sherman from the state department who is over seeing the negotiations said she does not believe it would be help to feel increase the sanctions now. this was after irritating the iranians by saying duplicity is part of their d.n.a.
they didn't like that. so there is something for everybody. nuclear issue is important but i don't think it's the only issue. where it's going to get sticky is on levels of enrichment. iran believes it has to right to enrich plutonium for peaceful uses. the level of enrich sment very significant. and what we and the israelis and saudis and others are afraid of is they will be so close they can enrich very quickly and weaponize. it's too serious to not say it's a possibility. the obama administration and the department of state believe that they have this -- they understand it and have it under control.
each country has its own tea party. there are -- the iranians invented drinking tea. there are naysayers who will make this very difficult just as there are in the united states who argue we are being tricked and this is not going to work. so the challenge is they need to sell not only one another, we need to sell their own people. again the obama administration has had such challenges in the middle east that one of its -- one of the issues it's going to have to contend with it's credibility on middle east issues. these issues were all related. we were having a little discussion that i purposely stayed out of on does the palestine issue matter. and at the end of the day the symbolism matters a lot. if the palestine issue was resolved tomorrow we're not
going to be able to retire to a warm climate and not worry about anything ever again. if it is resnolved a way that promotes national security and gives them their own right, it gives one reason to dislike and distrust us in the middle east will go away. there will be a whole list of others there having to do with egypt and so on. but the palestine issue does matter. it's just we need to understand how does it matter, what is the nature of the mattering and there we need to be realistic. so all of these issues are related. and president obama has all sorts of domestic issues. obama care and endless list of things. so the question is if he is able to make a deal with the iranians that satisfies him and secretary kerry will he be able to sell this deal to the american people
and their elected representatives in congress? and it's a real consideration and the same consideration exist in iran. so it's sort of a two stage challenge. one is to make a deal with one another and the other is to get your camps to accept the deals. the supreme leader commented on ring ouhani's trip to new york. he criticized the phone call between him and obama. if two guys can't have a phone call and goes to that level, it shows you how difficult it is to make a deal. let me end by advocating extraordinary humility when it comes to understanding iran. the data is just not there. we are really stumbling around in the dark and trying to make sense of things with very fragmentary information and
things change a lot. so these are all my personal views. the longer i study iran, the longer i think i probably should have been a switzerland specialist because the longer i do it i always am discovering new complications and just things that i hadn't figured. the record of middle east specialists -- i'm looking at the real deal, our record is one of uniform failure. you name it we failed to predict it. it's an extraordinary record. don't come to las vegas with people like me. that's normally what i say. but we didn't predict the arab spring. you name it, we didn't get it right. so be very aware experts from out of town or even in town, this is not for the faint of heart.
i'll be glad to have questions or contrasting views. >> [inaudible] >> for the purposes of the c-span taping we need every question to be made from this microphone in the center of the room, please. >> the question is if we make this deal you spoke of with the islamic republic, are we not selling the ress six pack down the river? >> it depends on what the deal looks like. and the thing that we as americans and iranians in the u.s. need to realize islamic republic is here to stay.
it was a country that was born out of a revolution. it is legitimate. it has done things that are not in accord of our values or many iranians values but this is it. and i think that bringing iran back into the world community, reintegrating it into the world economy, opening the country up so people can visit the country and they can get visas and come here and study engineering or whatever i think will benefit significantly. >> before we go to the next question, let me ask you to devote a couple of minutes -- there is one as spect of iran's role in the middle east that you might want to touch upon.
given our limited time we can only do so much but this is critical understanding what is going on in the arab world which is iran's role as the emerging guardian of the global shyia community. and this is what is getting the saudis to react the way they do. they are reacting the way they do less because they are concerned iran is going to nuke them but because the rise of iran as the major voice in the muslim world which traditionally has gone to saudi arabia where islam began this. is a direct challenge to the saudi and their perception of themselves. that also speaks to how iran per seeves it's own role in the middle east and elsewhere. i wonder what your comments on that are.
>> that's a very important question. the iranny revolution has failed. the iranian revolution was meant to sponsor revolutions around the world. it was supposed to be a model for muslims to throw off the yolk of oppression and other groups around the world no country has gone the way of iran and iran is the good advertisement against creating islamic republics. having said that the issue is imperative and that is one that is not going to go away. it's very important. so we can pick our poison. we can line up with saudi arabia where they are toying with letting women drive cars. that's a remarkable achievement
in the 21st century. or we can try and make a deal with iran and at the send end of the day. i go to saudi arabia a lot. they are not going to send their kids to universities in beijing. they are stuck with us and we are stuck with them. but traditionally we made choices in the middle east. i think ultimately in a perfect world we would have relationships with all major pulls in the middle east. with iran with the arrabs and israelis and even turkey which i think of as a middle eastern state. what you are talking about is not going to go away. it's very very important. the question is how will that play in terms of broader opportunities for economic development and integration into the world and so forth. these are countries that are evolving. what we haven't talked about and don't have time is the ar
abspring. this say region that is undergoing extraordinary changes and your question highlights one of the most important areas of instability but not the only one and they all feed on one another. >> let's make questions as brief as possible. >> should make answers as brief as possible and for that i apologize. >> you pointed out how difficult it is for to us predict what is going to happen, all these unexpected things happen. but don't you think we're helped by started history in 1979 rather than in 1953 or 1952 when they got together and overthrew the government. you didn't mention anything about that. another thing that you talked about the danger of iran having nuclear weapons. what about the danger of israel
having nuclear weapons or the united states having nuclear weapons. we're the only one that is have purposely killed people with nuclear weapons. and i wonder if you could look into the future and see what is going to happen when china become it is dominant country in the world, it takes over from the united states? how do you think that will affect iran and israel which seems totally oblivious to the fact that this is going to happen. >> i'm a simple guy. and i really don't disagree with particularly 1953 which is part of the iranian narrative. you are exactly right. that part of the story is one of the reasons they don't like suss we brought the sha back and kept him in power. israel has nuclear weapons. what are you going to do?
i'm not sure what we can do about it. i don't like us having -- >> [inaudible] >> why talk about people that aren't here? let's talk real issues where we can have an impact and at the end of the day if you are too ambitious you get nothing done. i give my staff the f word lecture. new staff the f word. that's focus. let's pick our issues and do it. if we can solve the palestine question. if we can make a deal with iran. there are so many ifs. the world will be a better place if we are realistic in our ambitions and that's the f word. >> i have loved your presentation. it was informative and charming and witty and it was most enjoyable to listen to and the only thing i liked better was our conversation around the
table which was a lot of fun as well. but i don't think anybody in this room would mistake me for being a tea party person, quite the contrary. but i come down on the side of those that think that a deal with iran right now is an impossibility and i'm going to tell you why. or let me not talk about that. but i was part of the original co-sponsors of the iranian sanctions bill both of them and worked very closely with the europeans in ensuring they voted for sanctions in the eu and yoo united nations. so i've been solved in this for quite a while. the reason he is reaching out to the united states and to the europeans is because the sanctions are actually working. we are bringing their economy to its knees and i am of the mind
that if we start loosening up those sanctions and granting concessions before the iranians agree to end their nuclear ambitions and i do not believe for a minute that they are attempting to use nuclear for peaceful purposes. there is only one reason that they are working so hard and spending so much money to acquire enough material to make a nuclear bomb. it is my understanding from the latest intelligence information that they are within a month of having enough material to in fact make one bomb. and i think that would be very dangerous for us to lift those sanctions now after all of the time and the sacrifice and the efforts on the part of the united states and the europes. let those sanction work and the way they are going to work is
make it worse right now which i'm of the mind we should but just leave them in place until the iranians come over to our way of thinking and actually agree to end their nuclear ambitions. and i find it extraordinary in this day in age that he is considered a moderate when he has been the advisor and the right-hand man of the supreme leader. and in addition to that when asked ma jid was a total lunatic and was acquiring nuclear capability to do that or so he said and was a hol cost denier. now have you rouhani when asked the question did the holocaust acur said i'm not a historian. that to me is not being a moderate. >> the question. >> the question is --
>> why would you possibly think that lifting the sanctions now would be a help with iranians given their history? >> i didn't say we should lift the sanctions now. i was quoting wendy sherman who said they shouldn't be increased. >> what do you think? >> i don't think we should lift them but where you will disdwrea with me is we should signal to them a willing tons consider lifting the sanctions in ways which will satisfy your vie which is an important vufmente you represent an important segment of congressional and public opinion in this country. your view is not a weird view. i don't fully agree wit but i get it. i hope you didn't think i was calling you a tea partier but obama is going to have to
satisfy people that hold that view and it's going to be very difficult. so the question is how can he sort of address the sanctions issues in a way that will have an impact on iran while at the same time being able to persuade people who hold your view which is an important view that your concerns are being met. the other thing is i have heard so many statistics about when so many statistics about when iran with weaponize including from the israelis which are wildly difference. and that's part of what i'm la meanting is how little we know. what you can see to it seems to me how can you afford to take the risk if there is 1% possibility there it's a month how can you do it? >> having said that you're right. but the more desperate they
right. but the more desperate they become, the more they squeeze them the more they feel painted into a corner to do something that is in our debt triment including their own. >> you just answered the question i was going to put to you. yes or no in very briefly can the iranians be forced to give up their nuclear option, let's call it that because that's what it is at any level of sanctions that the world will agree to impose beyond where we are today ? >> it's not only that. the iranians are going to have to permit very intrusive inspecs, intrusive ininspections and there is a will they allow that? they will regard that as an infringement on their sovreignty. the bar is going to be high for them and i'm not sure if they are going to meet it. history kind of favors you more than it does me.
certainly recent history which is worrisome but it is what it is. >> i have a twofold question first on christian persecution and also the prison there s that on the hearts and minds of the iran people? >> i think the situation of christian minorities across the middle east is not good. the situation in egypt was terrible under morsi and one hopes under the new regime it will be better n. terms of iran. being a religious minority is not fun. they are sort of at the top of the heap in terms of being discriminated against.
christians have had issues, jews have had issues, this country has not shown .reat respect for diversity >> but there might be another one in the room. can you discuss how that's been impacting what i've been discussing. >> the relationship between iran and iraq, nothing good. the situation in iraq is deteriorating.
iran generally believes it has interest in iraq which it does. it's a neighboring country. to go back to paul's question, the iranians have a shy i can't infear orty complex, the two holiest cities are in iraq and iran wants a seat at the iraq table and the iraq table is very unsteady. so i understand their desire to be part of it. but having said that iraq is not out of the woods and certainly we are not on the same side as the iranians. there have been instances which we've agreed. afghanistan, believe it or not there was a period of time which we collaborated effectively with iran but these things are fleeting and not forever so you are right. >> i just had a question if we weren't americay enough already.
i'd like to talk about iranian domestic economics. we talk about sanctions and how that effects them and their economy. but i was wondering how severe are some of their own policies, how severe is the recovery going to be for the highly educated and underememployed young population, you mentioned 65% under 35 years old, what's the way forward for them? is that going to involve reprivatizing the industry in iran? >> iran economically looks worse than it should look because it has a very sophisticated business sector, highly educated people, a good labor force and a tradition of being economically a healthy country and they are petroleum producers which we ouven forget. we keep the sanctions which under circumstances it's american law it will continue to
contract. i agree with the congresswoman. i'm not sure he would have done this were the economy healthier but it's not. economic recovery is absolutely possible in iran, obslutely but the right circumstances need to be in place. and unemployment, the youth bulge, all of these things, the environment is a terrible issue. any of you have been there lately, it's like mexico city, the air is absolutely foul, water shortage, there are endless numbers of problems in iran which are not being dealt with because they don't have the will or resources or both. >> we have been talking about this as if it were strictly a middle east issue.
what about their role particularly in northern africa and closer to home in central and south america? >> again i mentioned the bombing of the jewish community center. any of you watching homeland -- i can't say anything without spoiling. i take that back because i don't want to be a spoiler. iran is involved in all sorts of things globally and this is what paul was saying, sort of the center of a global political religious based inspired political movement and it not constructive. but having said that if we remain on this course, it's not going to get better but worse. will the guys in teheran pull back if we reach an accord with them. they don't do this because it's good for iran.
these are desperation moves in a country with a failed revolution sand looking for a mission. so you are absolutely right but this is not inevitable and does not have to be forever. it would help us as a country if we would be a little more attentive to latin america as well. it's interesting which the united states takes latin america for granted. >> i have a question and a statement. my question is we talked about iran and said they want to be a leader in the middle east and whatever they do in iraq but we are forgetting they are completely taking over of turkey and turkey is one of the biggest ally in west and as we call them they are the right arm of the
nato. last week turkey passed a law, you cannot sell alcohol in their shops, you cannot sell in any restaurant anymore. and between 10:00 in the p.m. and 10:00 in the a.m. selling alcohol is completely band. >> sounds like texas by the way. it's like that in texas too. >> that's okay. but texas can do that. but turkey is a secular country and today is the day 29 of october it is the day turkey really celebrated because they believe they are secular. but my question is what is your opinion with the involvement of the iranian and the turks and both of them are not arabs and one more time they are together and taking control of the middle east what is your opinion? and the statement was
congresswoman was absolutely right because i am half persian, i was born in iran. i left very young the country but i still have my cousins and did see all of them this summer and all of them even though they are very hurt from the sanctions, really sanction bothering them but they are saying it is the only way to bring [indiscernible] . >> i don't think turkey needs any help from iran. turkey is a very big independent country, the movement towards islamization in part is a result of the rejection by the european union. turkey mistakingly wanted to join for years and years which never made sense to me. turkey is the only country in the world that is all three.
they should leverage all three of those instead of going in the eu direction which benefits nobody. i don't think iran is a significant actor in turkey. they don't love the iranians, they are not going to listen to them and they don't need any help. the idea that they are together, i don't see turkey coordinating its policies with iran. it's a very different country with different expectations and different needs. but what it does show is the middle east is a mess and that's kind of an undercurrent of your entire question. if iran is the only good news coming out of the middle east what does that say about the middle east? nothing very good. >> there is one issue where iranians and turks come together and that's where they help each other to keep curbing rising nationalism. this will be become more of an issue if the curds set up a zone in northeast syria and in
combination with northern iraq which brings me to a question from our former president of the world affairs council and his question has to do with iran's role in the syrian mess. so if you can address that for a second. >> the syrian iranian relationship was always bizarre because if iran is really all about islam and shism to support the assad family is the an tith sis of everything that the islamic rep republic stands for, this was a mine tarne secular non-religious political order but it gave iran an entremendous into the world which it was valued and very important. it puts the idea that the iranians are wild eyes sel lots is under mind by its relationship with syria.
it's my view that by not responding quickly to the deployment of chemical weapons by the assad regime and delaying and taking it to congress and making a deal with russia, basically assad should send the united states a thank you note for buying it another six months or year or two or whatever it is. my view of iran and you would know better than i do but you can't tell us is i felt the iranian influence in syria and lebanon was somewhat exaggerated. i think they were striving to be influential. but the lebanese and syrians are not willing to be dominated by the iranians so it was a marriage of convenience in which they collaborated but i never got the feeling that iran was pushing the but tons in teheran and things happened in had lebanon and sir yafment but it doesn't change the fact their
involvement in both places is not constructive and very serious. >> there is no gain saying the fact that lebanon is totally dependent on lebanon as a sup plire of wentry and dependent on syria as the channel which they arrive. so this whole setup is critical to the power in lebanon. now they are power in the cuntriff. -- country. and so it is very critical in that respect. >> i agree with that. i just never know who needs who more. >> i would say hezbollah you needs iran more. >> how about russia? they portray iran as a friend or ally. how about iranians do they take russia seriously? what is their sense of russia?
>> russia, everybody sort of takes russia seriously and there are long historical relations between iran and russia. the shah's father was a member of the military brigade and iranian brigade but i think that russia is decratly looking for a role until the middle east. the iranians are cynical. they get it. they understand russia might be a useful counter point to the u.s. and to those forces that are marshalled against it. but russia is not eager for iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability. they are concerned abouts islamic based activity along its southern border. so they will tolerate certain iranian behavior but probably not too much and the iranians i don't think have great expectations of russia nor
should they. >> i would add to that and also ask to you comment as far as iran is concerned in a sense russia is a rival on the oil and gas export front, far more critical to the iranians is the budding relationship with china. and china is becoming very aggressive in its purchase of natural resources and in establishing all sorts of channels to build on for the puche. -- future. and india also derives a lot of its oil imports from iran. it has been seriously affected by the sanctions and it's tired of them and trying finding ways of getting around the sanctions. so in a sense we should not think that iran is isolated in a box when it comes to the
sanctions. in fact, there are rising number of emerging major powers that find it in their interest to work with iran and get around the sanctions. and so that is also part of the picture. >> absolutely right, i agree. >> any more questions? >> yes, please. >> [inaudible] what about germany? >> for the interest of the rest of the audience the question has to do with whether there are other intermediaries that could work with iran other than the united states and germany might be a candidate? >> well the talks in geneva is not bilateral u.s. iran. the eu involves a number of other powers. at the end of the day we don't need mediators we need the countries to decide to make a deal and once they do it will
happen or it won't happen. the iranian foreign minister got his phd at the university of denver which is where condoleeza rise got her p.h.d.. all of these other collateral issues which deby latize but it is global because there are all of these activities elsewhere which impinge on our ability to make a deal and selling our own peoples, the iranians theirs and us ours. >> you have made great contribution to our understanding of how complex the picture is and filling in some of the blanks. i know it would take weeks to fill in all the blanks but this was extremely useful and thank you so much for coming out. >> thank you for having me, i
appreciate it. thank you. you. >> this morning, charlie cook moderate the discussion. the national journal hosted this event. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> today, the council looks at the future of nato and how will deal with avid security. live coverage at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span three. book tv looksd, back at the life and death of our 35th president on the 50th anniversary of his assassination. at -- back.
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